Tiana Sarsour trains with her team on public forum debates during practice at Northview High School. The team of about 25 students has been named to the 100 Club by the National Forensic League.
When Sylvania’s Northview High School speech and debate team was named to the 100 Club by the National Forensic League, students and the staff adviser alike knew that it was a prestigious award.
Awarded to only the teams that are in the top 10 percent of speech and debate clubs nationwide, the honor showcased the many hours of practice Northview students go through to achieve success.
Nadeen Sarsour, co-captain of the team and a veteran member of the squad that includes her sister Tiana, said the recent award was quite an acknowledgment.
“It made me feel really excited that I’m part of something that is so important, and it’s cool that we’re one of the best activities,” she said.
The high school earned the honor last year as well, and it is awarded based on a point system.
“If you are a speaker, it depends on if you finish first, second, third ... you get so many points,” Joseph Drouillard, teacher and team adviser said. He said the points accumulate throughout the year and students compete in 15 speech and debate events at the meets.
“Some of them do multiple events,” he said, adding that the team is primarily an after-school activity that requires dedication. “Some of the kids practice once a week. Some practice four times a week. Usually when you get close to the tournaments, you practice quite a bit.”
The entire team, which includes about 25 students, also meets once weekly for a general meeting.
“We’re still getting organized for the year,” Mr. Drouillard said. “The season doesn’t start until the first weekend in November.”
Miss Sarsour said many hours of practice go into preparing for the first competition and every event after. “I spend a lot of time at home researching and a lot of time at school with my teammates. We have practice debates,” she said. She competes in the Lincoln-Douglas debate event, which is an individual debate with no partners. “You debate about moral and ethical issues.”
Will Heinrichs, a senior and co-captain, competes in the policy-debate category and said the impacts of being on the team have shown him that it does matter.
“I like arguing,” he said. “My parents can tell you, I do enjoy arguing. I found it very appealing. I think that’s the reason I did, it was so educational. It was so addicting in that sense.”
In addition to the desire to be successful in competitions, the team also fosters an unmistakeable confidence, members said.
“A lot of people were telling me that it really improves your speaking skills,” Miss Sarsour said. “Really, I’ve become a confident speaker because of it.”